The LSU football team is accustomed to having big-time defensive backs year in and year out.
But this year, the Tigers may receive a significant contribution from a player that has flown under the radar recently.
After spending his first three years as a special teamer and backup, senior safety Craig Loston is finally getting a chance to start and play a serious role.
What separates Loston from the superstars that came before him is his aversion to the public eye. Though he would prefer to do his job quietly, Loston understands that playing for a school as prestigious as LSU makes dodging attention difficult.
"I'd rather [make plays] outside of the spotlight," Loston said. "But if it's a good play, it's going to come into the light."
Loston's quiet mentality can be traced back to his childhood. He grew up in Houston, Texas as one of four children. Loston's mother, Jackie Robertson, said Loston was "very busy" as a child.
He began playing football at age six, and he was also involved in soccer and basketball.
Though Loston was a multi-sport athlete as a child, he limited himself to track and football at Eisenhower High School.
Loston's mother soon saw the flashes of potential in her son.
"One play during a game in his junior year, he had the ball and was just determined to make a touchdown," Robertson said. "He faked left, faked right, and then he went up the middle and he made that touchdown. And I thought to myself, ‘This boy is bad.'"
Robertson wasn't the only one who noticed Loston's greatness. The scouting service Rivals.com rated Loston as the No. 1 safety prospect and the No. 20 overall prospect in the Class of 2009. USA Today named Loston a second team All-American, and he participated in the Under Armour All-American Bowl.
Loston's outstanding high school career had many college football powerhouses seeking his commitment. Loston originally wanted to attend Texas A&M, but late offers from Clemson and Oregon threw a hitch into his decision.
Loston picked a school based on its competition to determine how good of a football player he really was. He knew he had to test his skills and play against the best.
"I always wanted to play where the toughest football was," Loston said. "I decided to come to the closest SEC school, which was LSU."
Loston immediately earned a role as a special teamer in his true freshman season, but he injured his wrist after the third game. He was granted a medical redshirt and did not play for the rest of 2009.
He resumed his role as a special teamer in 2010. Loston also earned two starts, including one against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl where he recorded five tackles for the Tigers.
But Loston saw more of the same in 2011, as he battled injuries and continued to fight to find his niche on the team.
Most high school players ranked as highly as Loston quickly find themselves in starting roles, but because of his struggle with injuries and LSU's depth, Loston slowly worked his way up the depth chart.
And he was just fine with that.
"I knew that [when] coming to LSU, they were also recruiting other big time players," Loston said. "I [played] special teams, trying to provide for my team."
LSU Coach Les Miles noticed Loston's willingness to contribute on special teams and the experience he has gained.
"Loston is a hard-hitting young guy who appears to be taking his experience and playing with it," Miles said.
LSU Defensive Coordinator John Chavis has also kept a keen eye on Loston's progression.
"Loston made a big step in practice," Chavis said. "He was set back a little by injury, but right now he is having a great fall camp."
Though Loston said injuries have held him back, he understands they are a part of the game and feels that they have only made him stronger.
"I really believe that everything happens for a reason," Loston said.